I was having a conversation with friends over my favorite dessert, which is basically anything chocolate. One of my friends mentioned New Year’s resolutions and like a symphony, I heard a range of moans and groans. I told them to consider re-framing their idea of success by focusing on consistently (not perfectly) making small changes instead of focusing only on the end goal. If they change their behavior and do it consistently, the natural byproduct is their goal. I gave them the following as a starting point to consider.
- Replace two drinks a day with water. If you cannot stand the tastelessness of water, throw in some fruit – strawberries, lemons, etc for extra taste.
- Fill half of your plate at lunch or dinner with vegetables. A salad is a quick and easy solution. Just minimize the dressing to 2 tablespoons or less.
- Consider having a “walking” meeting with a colleague. Commit to a 15-minute walk during lunch. If you travel a lot, you can use workout apps with various workout programs and even a coach to keep you motivated like
- Start off with an amount you are confident you can save per pay period and adjust your payroll to have the funds automatically sent from your paycheck to a savings account. You can always increase the amount.
- Consider using the “round-up-to-the-nearest-dollar” bank savings feature or have deposits (interest, ATM usage rebate) automatically deposited into your checking account.
- Have a “no-spend day” when you choose where you are committed to not spending any money for the day.
Becoming Debt Free:
- Stop using your credit card. The easiest way to reduce the amount you owe is not to acquire any new debt.
- Call your creditors and ask for an interest rate reduction. Research from CreditCards.com cited that 3 out of 4 people who ask for interest rate deductions actually get it.
- As we head into tax season, consider earmarking part of your tax return to reduce your debt.
What are your goals? Starting off with the small changes can give you the quick wins to keep you motivated to reach them by the end of 2017. Then maybe you won’t groan the next time you hear about New Year’s resolutions!
This article was derived from the Financial Finesse Blog. Have a financial question? Send it to Ask Financial Finesse.